Christina Bulett |
Photo: GeeBee Images
Monster Energy Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo returns to the stage for his MotoGP title as Misano hosts the San Marino GP.
Although he missed out on the podium on the second visit to the Adriatic coast last season, fourth place was enough to claim his maiden premier class championship as title rival Pecco Bagnaia crashed out.
“Of course it’s a really special place for me for a lot of reasons,” Quartararo said ahead of round 14 of 2022. “For the title of course last year, but it’s also in 2019 the first time I really fight for the win. special place. A track that I love so much, hopefully we will do well this year too.
While Ducati’s challenger was unsuccessful in his bid last season, his recent form has put Bagnaia firmly back in the mix after three straight wins over the summer and with Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli being the local track of the Italian, Quartararo knows he will be the man to beat again this weekend.
“Lately it’s kind of normal to fight against them [Ducati] but actually I’ve always been super fast here at Misano,” the Frenchman admitted of the 4.2km circuit. “In race one we fought to the last point with Pecco, we couldn’t try to overtake but we were quite close and race two was of course different.
“But I’m ready to fight, it looks like the weather is going to be tough, but it’s the same for everyone.”
The Austrian last time out provided the defending champion with fundamental knowledge of their rival, having been stuck in a ‘Ducati sandwich’ at the Red Bull Ring for most of the weekend.
“I saw some cool memes about it, especially because in Austria it was quite special,” admitted Quartararo. “I was always in between. They have almost half the championship with their bikes so they have a lot of riders and of course a lot of good riders.
“Of course Austria was tough because I don’t know if they all have the same bikes but really similar I would say. So how they handle, in acceleration and power, they’re really similar and I have had to do a totally different style of riding compared to them, so it’s really difficult to overtake, sometimes I can’t reach the cornering speed that I’m used to doing when I’m alone, so I had to try strange overtaking but of course we are able to stay with them.
“Now the hardest thing is overtaking but I think Austria was a great experience for me and I think that will help me for the future.
“It’s already difficult to fight in front but if I also need to predict who will be close to me, you asked me too many things”, he continued on the task that awaited him. “My job this weekend is to try to do my best. If I have Pecco, Aleix or eight Ducatis around me, for me it will be the same, I just have to finish the most top of the ranking.
Misano also offers the first real opportunity to look into 2023 as two days of testing follow Sunday’s battles.
“We will be testing the ’23 bike and of course the ’23 engine,” Quartararo confirmed of next week’s Yamaha schedule. “We already had a little test in Barcelona and it looks like we will have a better test here at Misano. I’m really looking forward to testing.
A feeling that he admits he does not share as the last European race of the season approaches.
“Aragon, it’s a track I’ve never liked and I don’t know why,” he said when asked which upcoming race he might be without. “I was quick but in the race I never got a good result so hopefully I can change that this year. But if I have to cancel one, already too many races in Spain!”